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Professor David Booth


David Booth is Professor of Marine Ecology and Director of the Centre for Environmental Sustainability at UTS, and President of the Australian Coral Reef Society.  He has published over 100 papers in reef-fish ecology, climate change and other anthropogenic impacts on fishes and fisheries, in the Caribbean, Hawaii, Great Barrier Reef, and studies how tropical fish travel down the East Australian Current past Sydney.  He researches fishes in estuaries around Sydney, the ecology and behaviour of threatened fishes such as seadragons, black cod and white sharks and the ecology of the deep sea.  He is also a strong advocate of sustainable fisheries and marine parks.

David is Professor of Marine Ecology and has been at UTS since 1994. Previously he was an ARC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Australian Institute of Marine Science and a Visiting Professor at the University of the Virgin Islands. He has an active postdoctoral and graduate student group, and is Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Sydney Institute of Marine Sciences (SIMS) (opens an external site). He currently collaborates with NSW Department of Primary Industry, NSW Dept of Environment and Conservation,, UTS Microstructural Analysis Unit, Oregon State University, the Russian Academy of Sciences and the University of the Virgin Islands.


Recent external grants received

  1. 2005 - 2007 ARC Discovery Grant
    The mechanisms of success in coral reef fishes

  2. 2005 - 2007 ARC Discovery Grant (With B Kelaher)
    Trophic cascades in seagrasses

  3. 2005-2007 ARC Linkage Grant
    Ecology of Black Cod (Epinephalus sp.)

  4. 2003 - 2004 ARC Discovery Grant
    Living on the edge: settlement dynamics of reef fishes across their ranges (With Prof. M. Hixon, Oregon State University)

  5. 2003-2005 ARC Linkage Grant
    The impact of endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) in sewage contaminated waters on aquatic biota (with Dr. R Lim UTS, Sydney Water, NSW EPA)

  6. 2003-2005 Centre for Field Studies (USA)
    The impacts of terrestrial development on marine communities adjacent to the US Virgin Islands, Caribbean

  7. 1999 - 2002 ARC Large Grant
    Condition, survival and recruitment of reef fishes

  8. 1999 - 2001 Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC)
    Population dynamnics of long-finned eels in NSW (with Dr B Pease, NSW Fisheries)

  9. 2001 - 2004 ARC SPIRT Grant
    Genetics and population demography of threatened frogs in Sydney, Australia (With NPWS, State Forests, Transgrid, AGL)

  10. 1999 - 2002 ARC (SPIRT)
    Reproduction and stock structure of longfinned eels, Anguilla reinhardti (With NSW Fisheries, Southern Cross University)

  11. 1996 - 1999 ARC (SPIRT)
    Estuarine dependence of sparid fishes (with Australian Museum)

  12. 1995 - 1996 Berowra Creek Estuary Management Committee
    Fishes as bioindicators of estuarine health (with Hawkesbury-Nepean Trust)

  13. 1996 - 1998 Sea World Research and Rescue Foundation
    The impacts of degraded water quality on the survival, reproduction and behaviour of temperate marine fishes

Relevant Technical Skills
NSW Coxswain (Trading)
QLD Coxswain (Trading)
Radiotelephone Operator's License
St. Johns Senior First Aid
FAUI Openwater SCUBA certification (over 2000 logged dives)

Membership of Professional Bodies
Gilbert Ichthyological Society
Australian Marine Science Association (President NSW Branch)
Australian Coral Reef Society (Councillor)
Western Society of Naturalists (USA)
Berowra Catchment Management Committee (Chairman since 1998)

Scholarly Society Membership
Australian Marine Science Association (past councillor)
Australian Coral Reef Society (councillor)
Gilbert Ichthyological Society (USA)
Ecological Society of America
Australian Antarctic Society (Founding Member)

External Committees
Coral Reef Research Institute board member
Chair, Berowra Catchment Management Committee
Convenor, NSW AMSA

Why are we so reluctant to protect marine species from destruction?
New project uncovers more of the deep sea" ABC 7.30 6th July 2011
Could oil rigs be used to protect the deep sea?
Weedy Seadragons Catalyst 10th September 2009
UTS Newsroom stories 2005 - present

Image of David Booth
Professor, School of Life Sciences
BSc (Hons) (Syd), MSc (Queens), PhD (OSU)
+61 2 9514 4053

Research Interests

  • Coral reef fish ecology: inter- and intra specific interactions, role of reef fishes in communities
  • Early life history of reef fishes, particularly physiology and ecology of recruits: how do events occurring over the short settlement period influence population structure for reef fishes?
  • Impacts of pollution on fitness of estuarine and marine fishes: can anthropogenic pollutants influence fitness of fishes? Can aspects of fish ecology and physiology act as effective biomonitors of pollution?
  • Diet and condition of marine and estuarine fishes.
  • Influence of herbivores on reef ecosystems.
  • Modelling dynamics of fish ecology

Can supervise: Yes

Biology 1
Community and Population Ecology
Animal Ecophysiology
Temperate Marine Ecosystems
Coral Reef Ecosystems
Ecological Modelling
Individual Student Projects
Coastal Resources and GIS
Ecotoxicological Methods
Fisheries Resources


Fowler, A.M. & Booth, D.J. 2015, 'Fish habitat provided by Saipan's WWII submerged heritage' in Underwater Archaeology of a Pacific Battlefield: The WWII Battle of Saipan, pp. 117-134.
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Booth, D.J., Figueira, W.F., Jenkins, G. & Lenanton, R. 2012, 'Temperate Fish' in Poloczanska, E.S., Hobday, A.J. & Richardson, A.J. (eds), A Marine Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Report Card for Australia 2012, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Australia, pp. 307-322.
Since the first report card, little on-the-ground research on range shifts of temperate fishes has been reported. Several reviews of range shifts of Australian coastal fishes (Booth et al 2011 and Madin et al. 2012) have highlighted approaches for collecting and applying the data. Research in Western Australia (e.g. Langlois et al 2010, Cheung et al. 2011) has shown that many species of groundfish and reef fish are distributed latitudinally based on clear water temperature gradients, suggesting that climate-change SST increases/differences will significantly affect ranges. Langlois et al. 2010 conclude that the old climatically buffered, oligotrophic seascape of southwestern Australia has provided a simple system in which the consistent influence of Temperate Fish 308 www.oceanclimatechange.org.au physiological gradients on the abundance and distribution of fish species can be observed".
Booth, D.J. 2010, 'Natural History of Sydney's Marine Fishes: where south meets north' in Lunney, D., Hutchings, P.A. & Hochuli, D. (eds), The Natural History of Sydney, Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, Australia, pp. 143-154.
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Sydney has a speciose but little studied marine ichthyofauna, comprising elements of both tropical and warm/cool temperate origins. Recent surveys suggest that around 600 species have been found in Sydneys coastal waters, some of which are tropical visitors or cold-temperate vagrants. Here I briefly survey the diversity of Sydneys fish fauna, highlighting key aspects of life history that relate to distribution, and key habitats. Several iconic species are described in more detail, and local and climate change threats are outlined in relation to mitigation opportunities.
Booth, D.J. & Figueira, W.F. 2008, 'Resistance and Buffer Capacity' in Jorgensen, S.E. (ed), Encyclopedia of Ecology, Five-Volume Set, Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 3004-3009.
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Booth, D.J. & Murray, B. 2008, 'Coexistence' in Jørgensen, S.E. & Fath, B.D. (eds), Encyclopedia of Ecology, Five-Volume Set, Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 664-668.
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Booth, D.J. & Biro, P. 2008, 'Adaptation' in Jorgensen, S.E. (ed), Encyclopedia of Ecology, Five-Volume Set, Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 43-47.
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Harrison, P. & Booth, D.J. 2007, 'Coral Reefs: naturally dynamic and increasingly disturbed ecosystems' in Connell, S.D. & Gillanders, B.M. (eds), Marine Ecology, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, pp. 316-377.
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Authors PL Harrison and DJ Booth
Booth, D.J. 2004, 'Estuarine fishes of Berowra Creek' in A Guide to Berowra Valley Regional Park, Friends of Berowra Valley Regional Park, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 93-95.
Booth, D.J. 2004, 'Catchment Management' in A Guide to Berowra Valley Regional Park, Friends of Berowra Valley Regional Park, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, pp. 141-144.


Beger, M., Babcock, R., Booth, D.J., Bucher, D., Condie, S.A., Creese, B., Cvitanovic, C., Dalton, S.J., Harrison, P., Hoey, A., Jordan, A., Loder, J., Malcolm, H., Purcell, S.W., Roelfsma, C., Sachs, P., Smith, S.D.A., Sommer, B., Stuart-Smith, R., Thomson, D., Wallace, C.C., Zann, M. & Pandolfi, J.M. 2011, 'Research challenges to improve the management and conservation of subtropical reefs to tackle climate change threats: (Findings of a workshop conducted in Coffs Harbour, Australia on 13 September 2010)', Ecological Management and Restoration.
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Booth, D.J. 2000, 'Larval supply, condition and persistence of the coral reef fish, Pomacentrus moluccensis.', Proceedings of the Ninth International Coral Reef Symposium, Indonesian Institute of Sciences and the International Society for Reef Studies, Bali, pp. 463-466.
Spatial and temporal patterns in population dynamics of reef fishes are thought to be largely driven by patterns of supply of larvae to reefs. Most attention to date has been given to patterns in density of incoming larvae, while the condition, or physiological health, of larvae has been largely ignored. In this study, I demonstrate that recruit condition is variable in time and space, and that condition affects patterns of post-settlement survival and thus population dynamics. Recruit condition (measured as lipid content per dry weight) varied from 2 to 25% across three locations on the Great Barrier Reef, and differed considerably among successive recruit cohorts at each site. A multiple regression model showed that recruit condition, larval supply/recruit density explained 26-99% of the variation in abundance of juveniles 6 months post settlement, and varied considerably among geographic locations and years. While the relationship between recruit condition and recruit persistence differed at these scales, it is clear that recruit condition may decouple any relationship between larval supply and recruitment of coral reef damselfishes.
Doherty, P., Kingsford, M., Booth, D. & Carleton, J. 1996, 'Habitat selection before settlement by Pomacentrus coelestis', Marine and Freshwater Research, pp. 391-399.
The neon damsel, Pomacentrus coelestis, is characteristic of surge zones on Australian coral reefs and is most abundant on outer slopes of reefs in the southern Great Barrier Reef. When settling, it appears to 'avoid' lagoonal habitats. Recruitment records confirm that this is a general pattern regardless of whether lagoons have permanent or temporary connections to the ocean. This study included direct sampling, around One Tree Reef from the southern Great Barrier Reef, of all presettlement stages of P. coelestis with the aid of light-traps, channel nets and a plankton purse seine. Pelagic juveniles were abundant in catches from light-traps moored outside of the reef crest. In contrast, this developmental stage was rare in catches from all gear types used within the lagoon. The channel nets collected newly hatched larvae that entered the lagoon at night, but either they did not remain in the lagoon or they did not survive because they were not taken from the lagoon by diurnal purse seines. This direct evidence shows that broad-scale habitat selection can begin in the planktonic stage. It implies that pelagic juveniles have excellent sensory and motor capabilities, which disqualify them from being classified and modelled as plankton. Temperature records from inside and outside of the lagoon indicated that warm plumes (up to 3°C above ambient) influence reef waters near One Tree Reef, and temperature may be one of the cues that presettlement fish use to identify lagoonal habitats.

Journal articles

Ward, T., Booth, D.J., Fairweather, P.G., Ford, J.R., Jenkins, G.I., Keough, M.J., Prince, J.D. & Smyth, C. 2017, 'Australia's coastal fisheries and farmed seafood: an ecological basis for determining sustainability', Australian Zoologist.
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In response to consumer concerns about the sustainability of Australian-sourced seafood we derive a set of criteria within an explicit decision-process that can be used to determine whether locally farmed and wild-caught Australian seafood products meet standards of ecological sustainability and Ecologically Sustainable Development. These criteria substantially address the ecological deficiencies we identified in other systems commonly used for assessing seafood sustainability. The criteria address the issues that are relevant to local seafood production, and are populated with indicators (metrics) and benchmarks relevant to the Australian context. The indicators establish performance thresholds drawn from public domain data about the products, including observed empirical data and proxies, and include default decisions to be applied in the absence of adequate information. This decision structure is set within a peer-reviewed expert jury decision-making process. The criteria, decision process and decision outcomes from assessment of a number of pilot products were tested in a real seafood market (Melbourne), where we found a high level of producer, reseller and consumer acceptance of the judgements and ratings. The use of ecologically-derived standards results in several outcomes that differ from those of other seafood assessment systems, especially those assessments more focused on production standards, such as government, industry and NGO-supported programs, popularly used in Australia and worldwide. We conclude that despite high levels of uncertainty surrounding many of the population parameters, ecological patterns and processes, empirical cost-effective proxies can be used to reasonably estimate a form of sustainability that matches consumer interests/expectations for production of fresh local seafood. Despite the plethora of industry and government programs, there remains a significant but presently unmet consumer demand for ecologically-based, technically ...
Gates, A.R., Benfield, M.C., Booth, D.J., Fowler, A.M., Skropeta, D. & Jones, D.O.B. 2017, 'Deep-sea observations at hydrocarbon drilling locations: Contributions from the SERPENT Project after 120 field visits', Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, vol. 137, pp. 463-479.
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Beck, H.J., Feary, D.A., Nakamura, Y. & Booth, D.J. 2017, 'Temperate macroalgae impacts tropical fish recruitment at forefronts of range expansion', Coral Reefs, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 639-651.
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O'Connor, J.J., Lecchini, D., Beck, H.J., Cadiou, G., Lecellier, G., Booth, D.J. & Nakamura, Y. 2016, 'Sediment pollution impacts sensory ability and performance of settling coral-reef fish.', Oecologia, vol. 180, no. 1, pp. 11-21.
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Marine organisms are under threat globally from a suite of anthropogenic sources, but the current emphasis on global climate change has deflected the focus from local impacts. While the effect of increased sedimentation on the settlement of coral species is well studied, little is known about the impact on larval fish. Here, the effect of a laterite "red soil" sediment pollutant on settlement behaviour and post-settlement performance of reef fish was tested. In aquarium tests that isolated sensory cues, we found significant olfaction-based avoidance behaviour and disruption of visual cue use in settlement-stage larval fish at 50 mg L(-1), a concentration regularly exceeded in situ during rain events. In situ light trap catches showed lower abundance and species richness in the presence of red soil, but were not significantly different due to high variance in the data. Prolonged exposure to red soil produced altered olfactory cue responses, whereby fish in red soil made a likely maladaptive choice for dead coral compared to controls where fish chose live coral. Other significant effects of prolonged exposure included decreased feeding rates and body condition. These effects on fish larvae reared over 5 days occurred in the presence of a minor drop in pH and may be due to the chemical influence of the sediment. Our results show that sediment pollution of coral reefs may have more complex effects on the ability of larval fish to successfully locate suitable habitat than previously thought, as well as impacting on their post-settlement performance and, ultimately, recruitment success.
Poulos, D.E., Gallen, C., Davis, T., Booth, D.J. & Harasti, D. 2016, 'Distribution and spatial modelling of a soft coral habitat in the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park: Implications for management', Marine and Freshwater Research, vol. 67, no. 2, pp. 256-265.
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Beck, H.J., Feary, D.A., Fowler, A.M., Madin, E.M.P. & Booth, D.J. 2016, 'Temperate predators and seasonal water temperatures impact feeding of a range expanding tropical fish', MARINE BIOLOGY, vol. 163, no. 4.
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Parkinson, K.L. & Booth, D.J. 2016, 'Rapid growth and short life spans characterize pipefish populations in vulnerable seagrass beds', Journal of Fish Biology, vol. 88, no. 5, pp. 1847-1855.
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© 2016 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles. The life-history traits of two species of pipefish (Syngnathidae) from seagrass meadows in New South Wales, Australia, were examined to understand whether they enhance resilience to habitat degradation. The spotted pipefish Stigmatopora argus and wide-bodied pipefish Stigmatopora nigra exhibit some of the shortest life spans known for vertebrates (longevity up to 150days) and rapid maturity (male S. argus 35days after hatching (DAH) and male S. nigra at 16-19 DAH), key characteristics of opportunistic species. Growth rates of both species were extremely rapid (up to 2mmday-1), with seasonal and sex differences in growth rate. It is argued that short life spans and high growth rates may be advantageous for these species, which inhabit one of the most threatened marine ecosystems on earth.
Beck, H.J., Feary, D.A., Nakamura, Y. & Booth, D.J. 2016, 'Wave-sheltered embayments are recruitment hotspots for tropical fishes on temperate reefs', MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES, vol. 546, pp. 197-212.
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Donelson, J.M., Wong, M., Booth, D.J. & Munday, P.L. 2016, 'Transgenerational plasticity of reproduction depends on rate of warming across generations.', Evolutionary applications, vol. 9, no. 9, pp. 1072-1081.
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Predicting the impacts of climate change to biological systems requires an understanding of the ability for species to acclimate to the projected environmental change through phenotypic plasticity. Determining the effects of higher temperatures on individual performance is made more complex by the potential for environmental conditions experienced in previous and current generations to independently affect phenotypic responses to high temperatures. We used a model coral reef fish (Acanthochromis polyacanthus) to investigate the influence of thermal conditions experienced by two generations on reproductive output and the quality of offspring produced by adults. We found that more gradual warming over two generations, +1.5°C in the first generation and then +3.0°C in the second generation, resulted in greater plasticity of reproductive attributes, compared to fish that experienced the same increase in one generation. Reproduction ceased at the projected future summer temperature (31.5°C) when fish experienced +3.0°C for two generations. Additionally, we found that transgenerational plasticity to +1.5°C induced full restoration of thermally affected reproductive and offspring attributes, which was not possible with developmental plasticity alone. Our results suggest that transgenerational effects differ depending on the absolute thermal change and in which life stage the thermal change is experienced.
Booth, D.J. 2016, 'Ability to home in small site-attached coral reef fishes', Journal of Fish Biology, vol. 89, no. 2, pp. 1501-1506.
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The ability of two common, site-attached coral-reef fishes to return to their home corals after displacement was investigated in a series of field experiments at One Tree Island, southern Great Barrier Reef. The humbug Dascyllus aruanus was displaced up to 250 m, with 42% of individuals returning home, irrespective of body size, displacement, direction (up or across currents) and route complexity, while for the lemon damselfish Pomacentrus moluccensis 35% of individuals returned overall, with 33% from the greatest displacement, 100m along a reef edge. Given that the home range of both species is <1m2, over their 10+ year life span, the mechanisms and motivations for such homing ability are unclear but it may allow resilience if fishes are displaced by storm events, allowing rapid return to home corals.
Smith, S.M., Fox, R.J., Donelson, J.M., Head, M.L. & Booth, D.J. 2016, 'Predicting range-shift success potential for tropical marine fishes using external morphology.', Biology letters, vol. 12, no. 9.
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With global change accelerating the rate of species' range shifts, predicting which are most likely to establish viable populations in their new habitats is key to understanding how biological systems will respond. Annually, in Australia, tropical fish larvae from the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are transported south via the East Australian Current (EAC), settling into temperate coastal habitats for the summer period, before experiencing near-100% mortality in winter. However, within 10 years, predicted winter ocean temperatures for the southeast coast of Australia will remain high enough for more of these so-called 'tropical vagrants' to survive over winter. We used a method of morphological niche analysis, previously shown to be an effective predictor of invasion success by fishes, to project which vagrants have the greatest likelihood of undergoing successful range shifts under these new climatic conditions. We find that species from the family of butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae), and the moorish idol, Zanclus cornutus, are most likely to be able to exploit new niches within the ecosystem once physiological barriers to overwintering by tropical vagrant species are removed. Overall, the position of vagrants within the morphospace was strongly skewed, suggesting that impending competitive pressures may impact disproportionately on particular parts of the native community.
Booth, D.J. 2016, 'Bright spots among the world's coral reefs', Nature.
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Ongoing declines in the structure and function of the world's coral reefs1, 2 require novel approaches to sustain these ecosystems and the millions of people who depend on them3. A presently unexplored approach that draws on theory and practice in human health and rural development4, 5 is to systematically identify and learn from the 'outliers'&#8212;places where ecosystems are substantially better ('bright spots') or worse ('dark spots') than expected, given the environmental conditions and socioeconomic drivers they are exposed to. Here we compile data from more than 2,500 reefs worldwide and develop a Bayesian hierarchical model to generate expectations of how standing stocks of reef fish biomass are related to 18 socioeconomic drivers and environmental conditions. We identify 15 bright spots and 35 dark spots among our global survey of coral reefs, defined as sites that have biomass levels more than two standard deviations from expectations. Importantly, bright spots are not simply comprised of remote areas with low fishing pressure; they include localities where human populations and use of ecosystem resources is high, potentially providing insights into how communities have successfully confronted strong drivers of change. Conversely, dark spots are not necessarily the sites with the lowest absolute biomass and even include some remote, uninhabited locations often considered near pristine6. We surveyed local experts about social, institutional, and environmental conditions at these sites to reveal that bright spots are characterized by strong sociocultural institutions such as customary taboos and marine tenure, high levels of local engagement in management, high dependence on marine resources, and beneficial environmental conditions such as deep-water refuges. Alternatively, dark spots are characterized by intensive capture and storage technology and a recent history of environmental shocks. Our results suggest that investments in strengthening fisheries governa...
Fowler, A.M., Macreadie, P.I. & Booth, D.J. 2015, 'Should we "reef" obsolete oil platforms?', PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, vol. 112, no. 2, pp. E102-E102.
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Fowler, A.M., Macreadie, P.I., Bishop, D.P. & Booth, D.J. 2015, 'Using otolith microchemistry and shape to assess the habitat value of oil structures for reef fish', MARINE ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH, vol. 106, pp. 103-113.
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Booth, D.J., Gribben, P. & Parkinson, K. 2015, 'Impact of cigarette butt leachate on tidepool snails.', Mar Pollut Bull, vol. 95, no. 1, pp. 362-364.
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In urban areas, cigarette butts are the most common discarded refuse articles. In marine intertidal zones, they often fall into tidepools. We tested how common intertidal molluscs were affected by butt leachate in a laboratory experiment, where snails were exposed to various leachate concentrations. Mortality was very high, with all species showing 100% mortality at the full leachate concentration (5 butts per litre and 2h soak time) after 8days. However, Austrocochlea porcata showed higher mortality than the other 2 species at lower concentrations (10%, 25%) which may affect the relative abundance of the 3 snails under different concentrations of leachate pollution. Also, sublethal effects of leachate on snail activity were observed, with greater activity of Nerita atramentosa than the other 2 species at higher concentrations, suggesting it is more resilient than the other 2 species. While human health concerns predominate with respect to smoking, we show strong lethal and sublethal (via behavioural modifications) impacts of discarded butts on intertidal organisms, with even closely-related taxa responding differently.
Fowler, A.M., Macreadie, P.I. & Booth, D.J. 2015, 'Renewables-to-reefs: Participatory multicriteria decision analysis is required to optimize wind farm decommissioning', MARINE POLLUTION BULLETIN, vol. 98, no. 1-2, pp. 368-371.
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Lajus, D., Yurtseva, A., Birch, G. & Booth, D.J. 2015, 'Fluctuating asymmetry as a pollution monitor: The Australian estuarine smooth toadfish Tetractenos glaber (Teleostei: Tetraodontidae).', Mar Pollut Bull, vol. 101, no. 2, pp. 758-767.
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The relationship between pollution level in estuarine sediment and fluctuating asymmetry (FA) of resident smooth toadfish Tetractenos glaber was evaluated. A total of 188 fish from Sydney and Hawkesbury River estuaries (5 locations from each) were analysed for 28 bilateral skull bone characters. Sediment pollution was quantified based on analysis of heavy metals (Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn) and organochlorine pesticides (DDT, DDD, DDE, chlordane, dieldrin, lindane). Sediment toxicity was characterized using the mean quotient approach (MERMQ) and ranged from low to moderate level for heavy metals and from low to severe for organochlorides. The mean shape and directional asymmetry of fish bones differed among locations, suggesting a response to local environments. FA was positively correlated with organochlorine pesticides across locations, but not with heavy metals. These results suggest that fish FA could be a useful estimator of stress caused by organic toxicity based on the MERMQ approach.
Thomson, A.C.G., York, P.H., Smith, T.M., Sherman, C.D.H., Booth, D.J., Keough, M.J., Ross, D.J. & Macreadie, P.I. 2015, 'Response to "Comment on 'Seagrass Viviparous Propagules as a Potential Long-Distance Dispersal Mechanism' by A. C. G. Thomson et al"', ESTUARIES AND COASTS, vol. 39, no. 3, pp. 875-876.
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Johnston, E.L., Mayer-Pinto, M., Hutchings, P.A., Marzinelli, E.M., Ahyong, S.T., Birch, G., Booth, D.J., Creese, R.G., Doblin, M.A., Figueira, W., Gribben, P.E., Pritchard, T., Roughan, M., Steinberg, P.D. & Hedge, L.H. 2015, 'Sydney Harbour: what we do and do not know about a highly diverse estuary', MARINE AND FRESHWATER RESEARCH, vol. 66, no. 12, pp. 1073-1087.
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Mayer-Pinto, M., Johnston, E.L., Hutchings, P.A., Marzinelli, E.M., Ahyong, S.T., Birch, G., Booth, D.J., Creese, R.G., Doblin, M.A., Figueira, W., Gribben, P.E., Pritchard, T., Roughan, M., Steinberg, P.D. & Hedge, L.H. 2015, 'Sydney Harbour: a review of anthropogenic impacts on the biodiversity and ecosystem function of one of the world's largest natural harbours', MARINE AND FRESHWATER RESEARCH, vol. 66, no. 12, pp. 1088-1105.
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Ollivier, Q.R., Bramwell, N.A., Hammill, E., Foster-Thorpe, C. & Booth, D.J. 2015, 'Are the effects of adjacent habitat type on seagrass gastropod communities being masked by previous focus on habitat dyads?', AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY, vol. 63, no. 5, pp. 357-363.
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Liggins, L., Booth, D.J., Figueira, W.F., Treml, E.A., Tonk, L., Ridgway, T., Harris, D.A. & Riginos, C. 2015, 'Latitude-wide genetic patterns reveal historical effects and contrasting patterns of turnover and nestedness at the range peripheries of a tropical marine fish', Ecography, vol. 38, no. 12, pp. 1212-1224.
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Feary, D.A., Pratchett, M.S., Emslie, M.J., Fowler, A., Figueira, W.F., Luiz, O.J., Nakamura, Y. & Booth, D.J. 2014, 'Latitudinal shifts in coral reef fishes: why some species do and others do not shift', Fish and Fisheries, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 593-615.
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Climate change is resulting in rapid poleward shifts in the geographical distribution of many tropical fish species, but it is equally apparent that some fishes are failing to exhibit expected shifts in their geographical distribution. There is still little understanding of the species-specific traits that may constrain or promote successful establishment of populations in temperate regions. We review the factors likely to affect population establishment, including larval supply, settlement and post-settlement processes. In addition, we conduct meta-analyses on existing and new data to examine relationships between species-specific traits and vagrancy. We show that tropical vagrant species are more likely to originate from high-latitude populations, while at the demographic level, tropical fish species with large body size, high swimming ability, large size at settlement and pelagic spawning behaviour are more likely to show successful settlement into temperate habitats. We also show that both habitat and food limitation at settlement and within juvenile stages may constrain tropical vagrant communities to those species with medium to low reliance on coral resources.
Booth, D.J. 2014, 'Do otolith increments allow correct inferences about age and growth of coral reef fishes?', Coral Reefs, vol. Online, pp. 1-4.
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Otolith increment structure is widely used to estimate age and growth of marine fishes. Here, I test the accuracy of the long-term otolith increment analysis of the lemon damselfish Pomacentrus moluccensis to describe age and growth characteristics. I compare the number of putative annual otolith increments (as a proxy for actual age) and widths of these increments (as proxies for somatic growth) with actual tagged fish-length data, based on a 6-year dataset, the longest time course for a coral reef fish. Estimated age from otoliths corresponded closely with actual age in all cases, confirming annual increment formation. However, otolith increment widths were poor proxies for actual growth in length [linear regression r 2 = 0.440.90, n = 6 fish] and were clearly of limited value in estimating annual growth. Up to 60 % of the annual growth variation was missed using otolith increments, suggesting the long-term back calculations of otolith growth characteristics of reef fish populations should be interpreted with caution.
Fowler, A., Macreadie, P.I., Jones, D. & Booth, D.J. 2014, 'A multi-criteria decision approach to decommissioning of offshore oil and gas infrastructure', Ocean & Coastal Management, vol. 87, pp. 20-29.
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Thousands of the worlds offshore oil and gas structures are approaching obsolescence and will require decommissioning within the next decade. Many nations have blanket regulations requiring obsolete structures to be removed, yet this option is unlikely to yield optimal environmental, societal and economic outcomes in all situations. We propose that nations adopt a flexible approach that allows decommissioning options to be selected from the full range of alternatives (including `rigs-to-reefs options) on a case-by-case basis. We outline a method of multi-criteria decision analysis (Multi-criteria Approval, MA) for evaluating and comparing alternative decommissioning options across key selection criteria, including environmental, financial, socioeconomic, and health and safety considerations. The MA approach structures the decision problem, forces explicit consideration of trade-offs and directly involves stakeholder groups in the decision process. We identify major decommissioning options and provide a generic list of selection criteria for inclusion in the MA decision process. To deal with knowledge gaps concerning environmental impacts of decommissioning, we suggest that expert opinion feed into the MA approach until sufficient data become available. We conducted a limited trial of the MA decision approach to demonstrate its application to a complex and controversial decommissioning scenario; Platform Grace in southern California. The approach indicated, for this example, that the option `leave in place intact would likely provide best environmental outcomes in the event of future decommissioning. In summary, the MA approach will allow the environmental, social, and economic impacts of decommissioning decisions to be assessed simultaneously in a transparent manner.
Booth, D.J., Poulos, D.E., Poole, J. & Feary, D.A. 2014, 'Growth and temperature relationships for juvenile fish species in seagrass beds: implications of climate change', Journal Of Fish Biology, vol. 84, no. 1, pp. 231-236.
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The effect of water temperature on growth responses of three common seagrass fish species that co-occur as juveniles in the estuaries in Sydney (34&deg; S) but have differing latitudinal ranges was measured: Pelates sexlineatus (subtropical to warm temperate: 2735&deg; S), Centropogon australis (primarily subtropical to warm temperate: 2437&deg; S) and Acanthaluteres spilomelanurus (warm to cool temperate: below 32&deg; S). Replicate individuals of each species were acclimated over a 7?day period in one of three temperature treatments (control: 22&deg;?C, low: 18&deg;?C and high: 26&deg;?C) and their somatic growth was assessed within treatments over 10?days. Growth of all three species was affected by water temperature, with the highest growth of both northern species (P. sexlineatus and C. australis) at 22 and 26&deg;?C, whereas growth of the southern ranging species (A. spilomelanurus) was reduced at temperatures higher than 18&deg;?C, suggesting that predicted increase in estuarine water temperatures through climate change may change relative performance of seagrass fish assemblages.
Pradella, N., Fowler, A., Booth, D.J. & Macreadie, P.I. 2014, 'Fish assemblages associated with oil industry structures on the continental shelf of north-western Australia', Journal of Fish Biology, vol. 84, no. 1, pp. 247-255.
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Donelson, J., Mccormick, M.I., Booth, D.J. & Munday, P.L. 2014, 'Reproductive Acclimation to Increased Water Temperature in a Tropical Reef Fish', PLoS One, vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 1-9.
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Understanding the capacity of organisms to cope with projected global warming through acclimation and adaptation is critical to predicting their likely future persistence. While recent research has shown that developmental acclimation of metabolic attributes to ocean warming is possible, our understanding of the plasticity of key fitness-associated traits, such as reproductive performance, is lacking. We show that while the reproductive ability of a tropical reef fish is highly sensitive to increases in water temperature, reproductive capacity at +1.5&deg;C above present-day was improved to match fish maintained at present-day temperatures when fish complete their development at the higher temperature. However, reproductive acclimation was not observed in fish reared at +3.0&deg;C warmer than present-day, suggesting limitations to the acclimation possible within one generation. Surprisingly, the improvements seen in reproduction were not predicted by the oxygen- and capacity-limited thermal tolerance hypothesis. Specifically, pairs reared at +1.5&deg;C, which showed the greatest capacity for reproductive acclimation, exhibited no acclimation of metabolic attributes. Conversely, pairs reared at +3.0&deg;C, which exhibited acclimation in resting metabolic rate, demonstrated little capacity for reproductive acclimation. Our study suggests that understanding the acclimation capacity of reproductive performance will be critically important to predicting the impacts of climate change on biological systems.
Thomson, A.C., York, P.H., Smith, T.M., Sherman, C.D., Booth, D.J., Keough, M.J., Ross, D.J. & Macreadie, P.I. 2014, 'Seagrass Viviparous Propagules as a Potential Long-Distance Dispersal Mechanism', Estuaries and Coasts, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 927-940.
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Resilience of seagrass meadows relies on the ability of seagrass to successfully recolonise denuded areas or disperse to new areas. While seed germination and rhizome extension have been explored as modes of recovery and expansion, the contribution of seagrass viviparous propagules to meadow population dynamics has received little attention. Here, we investigated the potential of seagrass viviparous propagules to act as dispersal vectors. We performed a series of density surveys, and in situ and mesocosm-based experiments in Port Phillip Bay, VIC, Australia, using Zostera nigricaulis, a species known to produce viviparous propagules. Production of viviparous propagules was higher at sites with high wind and current exposure, compared to more sheltered environments. A number of propagules remained buoyant and healthy for more than 85 days, suggesting the capacity for relatively long-distance dispersal. Transplanted propagules were found to have improved survivorship within seagrass habitats compared to bare sediment over the short term (4 weeks); however, all propagules suffered longer-term (<100 days) mortality in field experiments. Conditions outside of meadows, including sediment scouring, reduced the likelihood of successful colonisation in bare sediment. Furthermore, sediment characteristics within meadows, such as a smaller grain size and high organic content, positively influenced propagule establishment. This research provides preliminary evidence that propagules have the potential to act as an important long-distance dispersal vector, a process that has previously gone unrecognised. Even though successful establishment of propagules may be rare, viviparous propagules show great potential for seagrass populations given they are facing global decline.
McGowan, N., Fowler, A., Parkinson, K., Bishop, D., Ganio, K., Doble, P.A., Booth, D.J. & Hare, D.J. 2014, 'Beyond the transect: An alternative microchemical imaging method for fine scale analysis of trace elements in fish otoliths during early life', The Science of the Total Environment, vol. 494-495, pp. 177-186.
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Microchemical analysis of otolith (calcified `ear stones used for balance and orientation) of fishes is an important tool for studying their environmental history and management. However, the spatial resolution achieved is often too coarse to examine short-termevents occurring in early life. Current methods rely on single points or transects across the otolith surface, which may provide a limited viewof elemental distributions, a matter that has not previously been investigated. Imaging by laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS) permits microchemical analyses of short-term events in early life with high (b10 &igrave;m) resolution, twodimensional (2D) visualization of elemental distributions. To demonstrate the potential of this method, we mapped the concentrations of Sr and Ba, two key trace elements, in a small number of juvenile otoliths of neon damselfish (Pomacentrus coelestis) using an 8 &igrave;m beam diameter (laser fluence of 13.8 &plusmn; 3.5 J cm.2). Quantification was performed using the established method by Longerich et al. (1996), which is applied to 2D imaging of a biological matrix here for the first time. Accuracy of N97% was achieved using a multi-point non matrix-matched calibration of National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 610 and 612 (trace elements in glass) using Longerich's calculation method against the matrix-matched standard FEBS-1 (powdered red snapper [Lutjanus campechanus] otolith). The spatial resolution achieved in the otolith corresponded to a time period of 2 &plusmn; 1 days during the larval phase, and 4 &plusmn; 1 days during the post-settlement juvenile phase. This method has the potential to improve interpretations of early life-history events at scales corresponding to specific events. While the images showed gradients in Sr and Ba across the larval settlement zone more clearly.
Beck, H.J., Feary, D.A., Figueira, W.F. & Booth, D.J. 2014, 'Assessing range shifts of tropical reef fishes: a comparison of belt transect and roaming underwater visual census methods', BULLETIN OF MARINE SCIENCE, vol. 90, no. 2, pp. 705-721.
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Verges, A., Steinberg, P.D., Hay, M.E., Poore, A.G.B., Campbell, A.H., Ballesteros, E., Jr, H.K.L., Booth, D.J., Coleman, M.A., Feary, D.A., Figueira, W., Langlois, T., Marzinelli, E.M., Mizerek, T., Mumby, P.J., Nakamura, Y., Roughan, M., van Sebille, E., Sen Gupta, A., Smale, D.A., Tomas, F., Wernberg, T. & Wilson, S.K. 2014, 'The tropicalization of temperate marine ecosystems: climate-mediated changes in herbivory and community phase shifts', PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, vol. 281, no. 1789.
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Kelaher, B.P., Van Den Broek, J., York, P.H., Bishop, M. & Booth, D.J. 2013, 'Positive responses of a seagrass ecosystem to experimental nutrient enrichment', Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 487, no. 1, pp. 15-25.
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Nutrient enrichment of coastal waters is widely recognized as a major driver of seagrass decline. Under conditions where seagrasses are nutrient-limited, however, moderately elevated nutrient loads can enhance seagrass biomass and increase above- and below-ground consumers that support higher order predators. To improve understanding of bottom-up processes in seagrass ecosystems, we conducted a manipulative field experiment to simultaneously evaluate the responses of primary producers (seagrass and epiphytes) and the epiphyte- and the sediment-based components of seagrass food webs to moderate and high levels of waterborne nutrients. Fifteen 7 m2 sites in Zostera muelleri meadows were assigned randomly to control, moderate or high nutrient treatments and were enriched with 0, 1800 g and 3600 g respectively of slow-release fertilizer in above-ground dispensers. The experiment ran for 9 mo (August 2006 to April 2007) and the fertilizer was replaced every 2 mo to ensure continuous enrichment. The biomass of primary producers (seagrasses Z. muelleri, Halophila ovalis and associated epiphytes) and the abundance of predators in the epiphyte- and the sediment-based components of the food web were greater in nutrient-enriched treatments than in controls. Epiphyte grazers, deposit feeders/detritivores, suspension feeders and benthic grazers did not respond significantly to the nutrient enrichment. In general, responses to nutrient enrichment were similar for medium and high nutrient treatments except that the biomass and surface area of seagrass was greater in high enrichment sites. These results demonstrate that Z. muelleri-dominated seagrass meadows in oligotrophic systems may be resilient to greater nutrient loads. Effective conservation strategies for Z. muelleri meadows should continue to consider interactions among nutrient enrichment and other key anthropogenic stressors, particularly non-nutrient pollutants in runoff and sewage discharge.
Poulos, D.E., Harasti, D.I., Gallen, C. & Booth, D.J. 2013, 'Biodiversity value of a geographically restricted soft coral species within a temperate estuary', Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, vol. 23, no. 6, pp. 838-849.
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1. A threatened and uncommon soft coral species, Dendronephthya australis found in large abundance in Port Stephens, within the Port StephensGreat Lakes Marine Park (PSGLMP), New South Wales, Australia, was hypothesized to be an important habitat for many marine fishes and invertebrates, but is currently under threat from boat anchors, fishing debris entanglement and sand inundation. 2. Surveys were undertaken to assess the biodiversity associated with the soft coral habitat and its adjacent habitats (sponge, seagrass and unvegetated sand), using a combination of Underwater Visual Census (UVC) and Baited Remote Underwater Video System (BRUVS) techniques. 3. In total, 77 fish species and 21 invertebrate species utilized the D. australis habitat, and multivariate fish assemblages associated with soft corals were significantly different to those associated with nearby sponges, seagrass and sand habitats. Species richness of fishes and invertebrates were significantly higher in soft coral and sponge habitats than seagrass. 4. The D. australis habitat was found to be of high importance to juvenile snapper (Pagrus auratus: Sparidae), a species of recreational and commercial fishery importance, which occurred in highest abundance within D. australis, and were significantly smaller in size within the soft coral habitat than the adjacent sponge habitat. 5. Evidently, this rare soft coral habitat supports an extensive marine assemblage, potentially providing a valuable source of food and shelter for fishes and invertebrates, and given it is threatened by human-induced impacts, its protection should be a priority.
York, P.H., Gruber, R.K., Hill, R., Ralph, P.J., Booth, D.J. & Macreadie, P.I. 2013, 'Physiological and Morphological Responses of the Temperate Seagrass Zostera muelleri to Multiple Stressors: Investigating the Interactive Effects of Light and Temperature', PLOS ONE, vol. 8, no. 10.
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Fowler, A.M. & Booth, D.J. 2013, 'Seasonal dynamics of fish assemblages on breakwaters and natural rocky reefs in a temperate estuary: consistent assemblage differences driven by sub-adults.', PloS one, vol. 8, no. 9, p. e75790.
Development of infrastructure around cities is rapidly increasing the amount of artificial substrate (termed artificial reef, 'AR') in coastal marine habitats. However, effects of ARs on marine communities remain unknown, because it is unclear whether ARs can maintain similar communities to natural reefs. We investigated whether well-established (> 30 years old) breakwaters could consistently approximate fish assemblages on interspersed rocky reefs in a temperate estuary over 6 consecutive seasons using regular visual surveys between June 2009 (winter) and November 2010 (spring). We examined whether assemblage differences between reef types were driven by differences in juvenile recruitment, or were related to differences in older life-stages. Assemblages on both reef types were dominated by juveniles (61% of individuals) and sub-adults (34% of individuals). Seasonal fluctuations in assemblage parameters (species richness, diversity, sub-adult abundance) were similar between reef types, and levels of species diversity and assemblage composition were generally comparable. However, abundance and species richness were consistently higher (1.9-7.6 and 1.3-2.6 times, respectively) on breakwaters. These assemblage differences could not be explained by differences in juvenile recruitment, with seasonal patterns of recruitment and juvenile species found to be similar between reef types. In contrast, abundances of sub-adults were consistently higher (1.1-12 times) at breakwaters, and assemblage differences appeared to be driven by this life-stage. Our results indicate that breakwaters in temperate estuaries are capable of supporting abundant and diverse fish assemblages with similar recruitment process to natural reefs. However, breakwaters may not approximate all aspects of natural assemblage structure, with differences maintained by a single-life stage in some cases.
York, P.H., Kelaher, B.P., Booth, D.J. & Bishop, M. 2012, 'Trophic Responses To Nutrient Enrichment In A Temperate Seagrass Food Chain', Marine Ecology-Progress Series, vol. 449, pp. 291-296.
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Simple ecological models that predict trophic responses to bottom-up forcing are valuable tools for ecosystem managers. Traditionally, theoretical ecologists have used resource-dependent functional responses to explain the modification of food chains exp
Parkinson, K., Booth, D.J. & Lee, J. 2012, 'Validation of otolith daily increment formation for two temperate syngnathid fishes: the pipefishes Stigmatopora argus and Stigmatopora nigra', Journal Of Fish Biology, vol. 80, no. 3, pp. 698-704.
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Otoliths were used for the first time to successfully validate the age of members of the family Syngnathidae: the spotted pipefish Stigmatopora argus and the wide-bodied pipefish Stigmatopora nigra. Otolith increments were deposited daily in (1) known-ag
Fowler, A. & Booth, D.J. 2012, 'Evidence of sustained populations of a small reef fish on artificial structures. Does depth affect production on artificial reefs?', Journal Of Fish Biology, vol. 80, no. 3, pp. 613-629.
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The length frequencies and age structures of resident Pseudanthias rubrizonatus (n = 407), a small protogynous serranid, were measured at four isolated artificial structures on the continental shelf of north-western Australia between June and August 2008
Macreadie, P.I., Fowler, A. & Booth, D.J. 2012, 'Rigs-to-reefs policy: Can science trump public sentiment?', Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, vol. 4, pp. 179-180.
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Fowler, A. & Booth, D.J. 2012, 'How well do sunken vessels approximate fish assemblages on coral reefs? Conservation implications of vessel-reef deployments', Marine Biology, vol. 159, pp. 2787-2796.
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The amount of artificial habitat (termed `artificial reef, AR) in marine systems is rapidly increasing, yet the effect of most types of AR on reef communities remains unknown. We examined the role of well-established vessel-reefs in structuring coral reef fish assemblages by comparing assemblages on 7 World War II wrecks (>65 years old) to those on interspersed coral patch reefs of comparable size in a tropical lagoon. Fish abundance, species richness, diversity and feeding guild structure on wrecks were similar to natural reefs; however, species composition differed between the two reef types (R = 0.1890.341, average dissimilarity: 67.368.8 %). Despite being more species-rich and diverse, fish assemblages on larger wrecks were less similar to assemblages on their adjacent natural reefs than smaller wrecks. Wrecks may also have affected fish abundance on adjacent natural reefs, with reefs adjacent to larger wrecks supporting higher abundances than reefs adjacent to smaller wrecks. Our results indicate that increases in vessel-reef habitat may not greatly affect reef fish assemblage parameters, but may affect the relative abundances of particular species
Booth, D.J. 2012, 'Science under siege-comment on Kearney article: Faith, vested interests and the scientific method: A critique of Kearney', Australian Zoologist, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 143-144.
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Mora, C., Aburto-Oropeza, O., Bocos, A.A., Ayotte, P.M., Banks, S., Bauman, A.G., Beger, M., Bessudo, S., Booth, D.J., Brokovich, E., Brooks, A., Chabanet, P., Cinner, J.E., Cortes, J., Cruz-Motta, J.J., Magana, A.C., DeMartini, E.E., Edgar, G.J., Feary, D.A., Ferse, S.C., Friedlander, A.M., Gaston, K.J., Gough, C., Graham, N.A., Green, A., Guzman, H., Hardt, M., Kulbicki, M., Letourneur, Y., Perez, A.L., Loreau, M., Loya, Y., Martinez, C., Mascarenas-Osorio, I., Morove, T., Nadon, M., Nakamura, Y., Paredes, G., Polunin, N.V., Pratchett, M.S., Bonilla, H.R., Rivera, F., Sala, E., Sandin, S.A., Soler, G., Smith, R.S., Tessier, E., Tittensor, D.P., Tupper, M., Usseglio, P., Vigliola, L., Wantiez, L., Williams, I., Wilson, S.A. & Zapata, F.A. 2011, 'Global human footprint on the linkage between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in reef fishes', Plos Biology, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 1-9.
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Difficulties in scaling up theoretical and experimental results have raised controversy over the consequences of biodiversity loss for the functioning of natural ecosystems. Using a global survey of reef fish assemblages, we show that in contrast to previous theoretical and experimental studies, ecosystem functioning (as measured by standing biomass) scales in a nonsaturating manner with biodiversity (as measured by species and functional richness) in this ecosystem. Our field study also shows a significant and negative interaction between human population density and biodiversity on ecosystem functioning (i.e., for the same human density there were larger reductions in standing biomass at more diverse reefs). Human effects were found to be related to fishing, coastal development, and land use stressors, and currently affect over 75% of the worlds coral reefs. Our results indicate that the consequences of biodiversity loss in coral reefs have been considerably underestimated based on existing knowledge and that reef fish assemblages, particularly the most diverse, are greatly vulnerable to the expansion and intensity of anthropogenic stressors in coastal areas.
Sanchez-Camara, J., Martin-smith, K., Booth, D.J., Fritschi, J. & Turon, X. 2011, 'Demographics And Vulnerability Of A Unique Australian Fish, The Weedy Seadragon Phyllopteryx Taeniolatus', Marine Ecology-Progress Series, vol. 422, no. NA, pp. 253-264.
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The weedy seadragon Phyllopteryx taeniolatus is a vulnerable and endemic Australian fish and also an icon and flagship species for marine conservation. However, little is known about its population dynamics, which hinders the establishment of conservation policies. We have previously demonstrated seadragons to be highly site-attached, so we estimated population densities, growth and survival of weedy seadragons using mark-recapture techniques at 5 sites in New South Wales (NSW, 34 S) and Tasmania (TAS, 43 S), near the northern and southeastern limit of distribution for the species, over a 7 yr period. Population densities varied from ca. 10 to 70 seadragons ha.1 depending on site and year. There was a significant decline in the number of weedy seadragon sightings per unit area searched in 2 out of 3 study sites near Sydney, NSW, from 2001 to 2007. There was also a decline at one of the 2 sites surveyed in the lower Derwent Estuary, TAS, in 2009 compared to 2003 and 2004. Survival rates at NSW sites ranged from 0.62 to 0.65 yr.1 and were higher at TAS sites where they ranged from 0.71 to 0.77 yr.1. Birth occurred approximately 3 mo later and seadragons exhibited significant slower growth in TAS (maximum adult size ~ growth rate parameter, L ~ k = 31.02) compared to NSW (L ~ k = 55.15). This study is the first population assessment of seadragons over ecologically relevant spatial and temporal scales, and shows differences in the dynamics of populations at different latitudes. It also shows declines in some populations at widely separated sites. Determining whether these declines are natural interannual fluctuations or whether they are caused by environmental or habitat changes must be a priority for conservation.
Van Den Broek, J., Peach, M.B. & Booth, D.J. 2011, 'The reproductive biology of the common stingaree Trygonoptera testacea (Urolophidae) in eastern Australia', Australian Zoologist, vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 627-632.
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The common stingaree, Trygonoptera testacea, is abundant on the continental shelf of eastern Australia but little is known of its ~cology and reproduction despite it being a common component of the demersal trawl fishery. Specimens of T testacea were collected from bycatch to investigate the species' reproductive biology. Males were found to mature at a disc width of 22 cm, while females reached sexual maturity at 26 cm disc width. Of all the I testacea examined, 53% of males (n= 159) and 16% of females (n=62) were se~ually mature. Only the left uterus and ovary were found to be functional in female I testacea. One gravid female carrying two near term embryos was sampled in February 2004. Many other females daught during the same trawl were observed aborting embryos providing a tentative estimate parturiti&agrave;n period, which appears to be between the months of February and April. Although further investigation is required to determine if I testacea populations are threatened by fishing pressures, the current study has provided key demographic parameters vital for the design of a management plan for I testacea and similar populations.
Macreadie, P.I., Fowler, A. & Booth, D.J. 2011, 'Rigs-to-reefs: will the deep sea benefit from artificial habitat?', Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, vol. 9, no. 8, pp. 455-461.
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As a peak in the global number of offshore oil rigs requiring decommissioning approaches, there is growing pressure for the implementation of a rigs-to-reefs program in the deep sea, whereby obsolete rigs are converted into artificial reefs. Such decommissioned rigs could enhance biological productivity, improve ecological connectivity, and facilitate conservation/restoration of deep-sea benthos (eg cold-water corals) by restricting access to fishing trawlers. Preliminary evidence indicates that decommissioned rigs in shallower waters can also help rebuild declining fish stocks. Conversely, potential negative impacts include physical damage to existing benthic habitats within the drop zone, undesired changes in marine food webs, facilitation of the spread of invasive species, and release of contaminants as rigs corrode. We discuss key areas for future research and suggest alternatives to offset or minimize negative impacts. Overall, a rigs-to-reefs program may be a valid option for deep-sea benthic conservation.
Booth, D.J. & Parkinson, K. 2011, 'Pelagic larval duration is similar across 23 degrees of lattitude for two species of butterflyfish (Chaetodontidae) in eastern Australia', Coral Reefs, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 1071-1075.
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Duration of the pelagic phase of benthic marine fishes has been related to dispersal distance, with longer pelagic larval duration (PLD) expected to result in greater dispersal potential. Here, we examine PLDs of 2 species of coral-reef butterflyfish (Chaetodon auriga and C. flavirostris) across latitudes (14&deg;S37&deg;S) along the Great Barrier Reef into south-eastern Australia; we predict that PLD will be higher for fish collected below the breeding latitudes of 24&deg;S. For C. auriga, apart from significantly longer PLDs at Lord Howe Island and Jervis Bay (means of 54 and 52 days, respectively), all locations had similar PLDs (mean 41 days). For C. flavirostris, there was no significant location effect on PLD (mean 41.5 days); however, PLD at Lord Howe Island was 58 days with high variance precluding significance. Also, there was no significant variation in PLD among years for either species despite considerable variation in East Australian Current strength.
Cummings, D., Lee, R., Simpson, S., Booth, D.J., Pile, A. & Holmes, S. 2011, 'Resource Partitioning Amongst Co-occurring Decapods On Wellheads From Australia's North-West Shelf. An Analysis Of Carbon And Nitrogen Stable Isotopes', Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, vol. 409, no. 40940, pp. 186-193.
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On the North West shelf of Australia, assemblages of co-occurring decapods formed the dominant taxa that had colonised a series of petroleum wellheads. Stable isotope analysis was utilised to infer how eleven co-occurring decapods species partition troph
Madin, E.M., Madin, J.S. & Booth, D.J. 2011, 'Landscape of fear visible from space', Scientific Report, vol. 1, no. art14, pp. 1-4.
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By linking ecological theory with freely-available Google Earth satellite imagery, landscape-scale footprints of behavioural interactions between predators and prey can be observed remotely. A Google Earth image survey of the lagoon habitat at Heron Island within Australia's Great Barrier Reef revealed distinct halo patterns within algal beds surrounding patch reefs. Ground truth surveys confirmed that, as predicted, algal canopy height increases with distance from reef edges. A grazing assay subsequently demonstrated that herbivore grazing was responsible for this pattern. In conjunction with recent behavioural ecology studies, these findings demonstrate that herbivores' collective antipredator behavioural patterns can shape vegetation distributions on a scale clearly visible from space. By using sequential Google Earth images of specific locations over time, this technique could potentially allow rapid, inexpensive remote monitoring of cascading, indirect effects of predator removals (e.g., fishing; hunting) and/or recovery and reintroductions (e.g., marine or terrestrial reserves) nearly anywhere on earth.
Booth, D.J., Bond, N. & Macreadie, P.I. 2011, 'Detecting range shifts among Australian fishes in response to climate change', Marine and Freshwater Research, vol. 62, no. 9, pp. 1027-1042.
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One of the most obvious and expected impacts of climate change is a shift in the distributional range of organisms, which could have considerable ecological and economic consequences. Australian waters are hotspots for climate-induced environmental changes; here, we review these potential changes and their apparent and potential implications for freshwater, estuarine and marine fish. Our meta-analysis detected <300 papers globally on 'fish' and 'range shifts', with similar to 7% being from Australia. Of the Australian papers, only one study exhibited definitive evidence of climate-induced range shifts, with most studies focussing instead on future predictions. There was little consensus in the literature regarding the definition of 'range', largely because of populations having distributions that fluctuate regularly. For example, many marine populations have broad dispersal of offspring (causing vagrancy). Similarly, in freshwater and estuarine systems, regular environmental changes (e. g. seasonal, ENSO cycles - not related to climate change) cause expansion and contraction of populations, which confounds efforts to detect range 'shifts'. We found that increases in water temperature, reduced freshwater flows and changes in ocean currents are likely to be the key drivers of climate-induced range shifts in Australian fishes. Although large-scale frequent and rigorous direct surveys of fishes across their entire distributional ranges, especially at range edges, will be essential to detect range shifts of fishes in response to climate change, we suggest careful co-opting of fisheries, museum and other regional databases as a potential, but imperfect alternative.
Macreadie, P.I., Bishop, M. & Booth, D.J. 2011, 'Implications of climate change for macrophytic rafts and their hitchhikers', Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 443, pp. 285-292.
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Most models predicting changes to species distributions under future climate scenarios ignore dispersal processes, despite their importance in determining community structure in both terrestrial and aquatic systems ('supply-side ecology'). In the marine environment, facilitation of long-distance dispersal of coastal organisms by macrophytic rafts may be severely modified by climate impacts on raft supply, quality, and persistence, and on transport processes. Increasing storminess in the coastal zone, higher water temperatures, and changes in water circulation represent some of the key mechanisms that will directly affect rafts, while increases in herbivore metabolism due to higher water temperatures are likely to indirectly reduce raft longevity through raft consumption. Accurate predictions of climate impacts on coastal biodiversity will be contingent on resolution of factors influencing rafting so that this and other dispersal mechanisms can be incorporated into species distribution models.
Figueira, W.F. & Booth, D.J. 2010, 'Increasing ocean temperatures allow tropical fishes to survive overwinter in temperate waters', Global Change Biology, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 506-516.
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The southeast coast of Australia is a global hotspot for increasing ocean temperatures due to climate change. The temperate incursion of the East Australian Current (EAC) is increasing, affording increased connectivity with the Great Barrier Reef. The survival of tropically sourced juveniles over the winter is a significant stumbling block to poleward range shifts of marine organisms in this region. Here we examine the dependence of overwintering on winter severity and prewinter recruitment for eight species of juvenile coral reef fishes which are carried into temperate SE Australia (30&acirc;37 &Acirc;&deg;S) by the EAC during the austral summer. The probability of persistence was most strongly influenced by average winter temperature and there was no effect of recruitment strength. Long-term (138 years) data indicate that winter water temperatures throughout this region are increasing at a rate above the global average and predictions indicate a further warming of >2 &Acirc;&deg;C by the end of the century. Rising ocean temperatures are resulting in a higher frequency of winter temperatures above survival thresholds. Current warming trajectories predict 100% of winters will be survivable by at least five of the study species as far south as Sydney (34 &Acirc;&deg;S) by 2080. The implications for range expansions of these and other species of coral reef fish are discussed.
Wilson, S., Adjeroud, M., Bellwood, D., Berumen, M., Booth, D.J., Bozec, Y., Chabanet, P., Cheal, A., Cinner, J., Depczynski, M., Feary, D.A., Gagliano, M., Graham, N., Halford, A., Halpern, B., Harborne, A., Hoey, A., Holbrook, S., Jones, G., Kulbiki, M., Letoourneur, Y., de Loma, T.L., McClanahan, T., Mccormick, M.I., Meekan, M., Mumby, P.J., Munday, P.L., Ohman, M.C., Pratchett, M., Riegl, B., Sano, M., Schmitt, R.J. & Syms, C. 2010, 'Crucial knowledge gaps in current understanding of climate change impacts on coral reef fishes', Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 213, no. 6, pp. 894-900.
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Expert opinion was canvassed to identify crucial knowledge gaps in current understanding of climate change impacts on coral reef fishes. Scientists that had published three or more papers on the effects of climate and environmental factors on reef fishes
Eriksson, C.A., Booth, D.J. & Biro, P. 2010, ''Personality' In Two Species Of Temperate Damselfish', Marine Ecology-Progress Series, vol. 420, pp. 273-276.
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The extent and importance of consistent individual differences in behaviour, often referred to as 'personality' or 'temperament', is a relatively recent question in ecology.
Cummings, D., Booth, D.J., Lee, R.S., Simpson, S. & Pile, A.J. 2010, 'Ontogenetic Diet Shifts In The Reef Fish Pseudanthias Rubrizonatus From Isolated Populations On The North-West Shelf Of Australia', Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 419, pp. 211-222.
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The red-barred anthias Pseudanthias rubrizonatus is a common tropical deep reef fish species found in Australia, but little is known about its dietary preferences and trophic interactions. We examined the gut contents and stable isotope signatures (?13C and ?15N) of P. rubrizonatus from populations on the North-West Shelf of Australia to determine differences in diet relative to site, depth and fish size. We sampled 5 fish populations from a series of sub-sea structures, from 82 to 152 m depth, which had been submerged for up to 15 yr. Gut content analysis suggested that P. rubrizonatus displays an opportunistic feeding strategy and utilises both pelagic and benthic resources, including larval fishes, heteropods, isopods and mysids. Stable isotope analyses revealed that at all depths P. rubrizonatus underwent an ontogenetic diet shift. Values for ?13C in muscle ranged from 19.7 for small fish to 16.2 for larger individuals, and ?15N ranged from 8.2 for smaller fish to 13.2 for larger fish, indicating that a diet shift occurs at the end of juvenile development between 30 and 50 mm standard length. By simultaneously analysing gut contents and stable isotope signatures of the collected specimens, we have documented opportunistic dietary strategies that may assist P. rubrizonatus to colonise isolated structures.
Buckle, E.C. & Booth, D.J. 2009, 'Ontogeny of space use and diet of two temperate damselfish species, Parma microlepis and Parma unifasciata', Marine Biology, vol. 156, no. 7, pp. 1497-1505.
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Studies of reef fish herbivory have mainly focused on the impacts and behaviour of adults of tropical species. In this study, the ontogenetic shifts in home range, aggression, feeding rate, diet and gut morphology in juveniles and adults of two temperate territorial damselfishes, Parma microlepis and Parma unifasciata, were determined. Both P. microlepis and P. unifasciata juveniles under 80 mm TL exhibited no aggressive chases towards conspecifics or other species, while above 80 mm TL aggressive chase frequency increased in conjunction with an increase in home range, defended as a territory. Ontogenetic diet shifts, characterised by an increase in herbivory (P. unifasciata: juveniles: 64% plant material, adults: 95% plant material; P. microlepis: juveniles: 43% plant material, adults: 67% plant material) were observed for both species. The ratio of digestive tract length to body length, which often accompanies a switch to herbivory, increased significantly with ontogeny for both species. Compared to tropical confamilial grazers, these temperate damselfish species feeding rates were lower, and they had larger territories which were not as strongly defended (fewer aggressive chases).
Figueira, W.F., Biro, P., Booth, D.J. & Valenzuela Davie, V.C. 2009, 'Performance of tropical fish recruiting to temperate habitats: role of ambient temperature and implications of climate change', Marine Ecology-Progress Series, vol. 384, no. 0, pp. 231-239.
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The warming of coastal oceans due to climate change is increasing the overwinter survival of tropical fishes transported to temperate latitudes by ocean currents. However, the processes governing early post-arrival mortality are complex and can result in minimum threshold temperatures for overwinter survival, which are greater than those predicted based upon physiological temperature tolerances alone. This 3.5 mo laboratory study monitored the early performance of a tropical damselfish Abudefduf vaigiensis that occurs commonly during austral summer along the SE Australian coast, under nominal summer and winter water temperatures, and compares results with a co-occurring year-round resident of the same family, Parma microlepis. Survivorship, feeding rate, growth and burst swimming ability (as a measure of predator escape ability) were all reduced for the tropical species at winter water temperatures compared to those in summer, whereas the temperate species experienced no mortality and only feeding rate was reduced at colder temperatures. These results suggest that observed minimum threshold survival temperatures may be greater than predicted by physiology alone, due to lowered food intake combined with increased predation risk (a longer time at vulnerable sizes and reduced escape ability). Overwinter survival is a significant hurdle in pole-ward range expansions of tropical fishes, and a better understanding of its complex processes will allow for more accurate predictions of changes in biodiversity as coastal ocean temperatures continue to increase due to climate change.
Biro, P. & Booth, D.J. 2009, 'Extreme boldness precedes starvation mortality in six-lined trumpeter (Pelates sexlineatus)', Hydrobiologia, vol. 635, no. 1, pp. 395-398.
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Fishes are often subjected to seasonal and spatial patchiness of food sources. We tested how risk-taking behaviour in the six-lined trumpeter, an estuarine seagrass resident fish, changed with hunger level in a laboratory experiment. When repeatedly offered a risky source of food, well-fed fish did not approach it and all fish survived over a one-month trial. In contrast, fish deprived of all food boldly first approached the risky food source after only a few days without food in some cases, or after many days in other cases, and then continued to approach risky food each time it was presented. Larger individuals were more bold (and had longer starvation endurance) than smaller ones, and after statistically controlling for these size effects, there were consistent individual differences in the propensity to take risks (i.e. boldness). These results show that food-and individual-dependent boldness will together affect vulnerability to predators and influence predation rates when resources become scarce.
Figueira, W.F., Booth, D.J. & Gregson, M.A. 2008, 'Selective mortality of a coral reef damselfish: role of predator-competitor synergisms', Oecologia, vol. 156, no. 1, pp. 215-226.
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Phenotypic variability within cohorts of juvenile organisms can serve as the basis for selective mortality. Previous studies have demonstrated the important role that predators play in this process but not the impact of competitors on selective predation
Wressnig, A. & Booth, D.J. 2008, 'Patterns of seagrass biomass removal by two temperate Australian fishes (Monacanthidae)', Marine And Freshwater Research, vol. 59, no. 5, pp. 408-417.
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Despite the global significance of nearshore seagrass beds, little is known of their trophodynamic processes. Herbivory by seagrass fishes is thought to be significant but some species previously suspected to be herbivores may be largely detritivorous. P
Booth, D.J., Figueira, W.F., Gregson, M.A. & Beretta, G. 2007, 'Occurrence of tropical fishes in temperate southeastern Australia: role of the East Australian Current', Estuarine Coastal And Shelf Science, vol. 72, no. 1-2, pp. 102-114.
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Dispersal of larval propagules is the major mechanism facilitating connectivity of marine populations. However, only a fraction of larvae settle in suitable habitat. For coral reef fishes, many larvae are advected away from coral reefs, often despite strong behavioural mechanisms (including swimming), and some may travel long distances away from the tropics. Here we document the occurrence of tropical reef fishes along the southeast coast of Australia between 2003 and 2005 and evaluate the role of the East Australian Current (EAC) in driving this pattern. In total we observed 47 species of tropical fishes from 11 families during the summer recruitment season (January to May) at locations spanning most of the length of the New South Wales coast (28&deg; S37.5&deg; S latitude, not, vert, similar1700 km from the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef). Southern locations tended to have reduced richness and density relative to northern ones. In general, the southward extent of distribution of the most commonly observed species was well explained by their planktonic larval durations. Recruitment events tended to be much more episodic in Merimbula (37&deg; S) than Sydney (34&deg; S), but there was little evidence for interannual similarity in the spatial patterns of recruitment of individual species with exception of the numerical dominance of Abudefduf vaigiensis and Abudefduf sexfasciatus (Pomacentridae) at the Sydney location and of Chaetodon auriga and Chaetodon flavirostris (Chaetodontidae) at the Merimbula location. Despite strong evidence for the role of the EAC in the transport of these species at a coastal scale, we found little evidence that individual recruitment events were correlated with local increases in water temperature that would be associated with EAC ingress.
Biro, P., Post, J.R. & Booth, D.J. 2007, 'Mechanisms for climate-induced mortality of fish populations in whole-lake experiments', Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America, vol. 104, no. 23, pp. 9715-9719.
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The effects of climate change on plant and animal populations are widespread and documented for many species in many areas of the world. However, projections of climate impacts will require a better mechanistic understanding of ecological and behavioral responses to climate change and climate variation. For vertebrate animals, there is an absence of whole-system manipulative experiments that express natural variation in predator and prey behaviours. Here we investigate the effect of elevated water temperature on the physiology, behaviour, growth and survival of fish populations in a multiple whole-lake experiment by using 17 lake-years of data collected over 2 years with differing average temperatures. We found that elevated temperatures un excess of the optimum reduced the scope for growth through reduced maximum consumption and increased metabolosm in young rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss. Increased metabolism at high temperatures resulted in increased feeding activity (consumption) by individuals to compensate and maintain growth rates similar to thaty oberserved at cooler (optimum) temperatures. However, greater feeding activity rates resulted in greater vulnerability to predators that reduced survival to only half of the cooler year. Our work therefore, identifies temperature-dependent physiology and compensatory feeding behaviour as proximate mechanisms for substantial climate-induced mortality in fish pu=opulations at the scale of entire populations and wtaer bodies.
Wressnig, A. & Booth, D.J. 2007, 'Feeding preferences of two seagrass grazing monacanthid fishes', Journal Of Fish Biology, vol. 71, no. 1, pp. 272-278.
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Two seagrass grazing fishes, Meuschenia freycineti and Meuschenia trachylepis (Monacanthidae), were offered three choices of Posidonia australis seagrass blades of different epiphyte coverage and leaf age to determine whether these fishes exhibit a preference for epiphyte covered seagrass blades. Both species removed significantly more biomass f the epiphyte-covred blades than of the two other blade types un multiple-choice tests. this clear preference for epiphyte-covered seagrass blades results in a preferred removal of older blades within the seagrass shoot of P. australis.
Alquezar, R., Markich, S.J. & Booth, D.J. 2006, 'Effects of metals on condition and reproductive output of the smooth toadfish in Sydney estuaries, south-eastern Australia', Environmental Pollution, vol. 142, no. 1, pp. 116-122.
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This study determined the condition and reproductive output of a common estuarine toadfish, Tetractenos glaber, in two metal contaminated and two reference estuaries near Sydney, Australia. Female toadfish from metal contaminated estuaries were smaller a
York, P.H., Booth, D.J., Glasby, T. & Pease, B.C. 2006, 'Fish assemblages in habitats dominated by Caulerpa taxifolia and native seagrasses in south-eastern Australia', Marine Ecology-Progress Series, vol. 312, pp. 223-234.
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Seagrass beds in estuaries are important habitats and nursery grounds for a great variety of fishes, including many economically important species. The introduction of the invasive green alga Caulerpa taxifolia could potentially threaten the seagrasses o
Tucker, B.J., Booth, M.A., Allan, G.I., Booth, D.J. & Fielder, D.S. 2006, 'Effects of photoperiod and feeding frequency on performance of newly weaned Australian snapper Pagrus auratus', Aquaculture, vol. 258, no. 1-4, pp. 514-520.
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An experiment was done to investigate the interactive effects of photoperiod (12L: 12D or 18L:6D) and feeding frequency on the growth of newly weaned Australian snapper (mean weight = 0.14 g fish(-1)). Feeding frequency was investigated over 4 levels wit
Bishop, M., Kelaher, B.P., Smith, M., York, P.H. & Booth, D.J. 2006, 'Ratio-dependent response of a temperate Australian estuarine system to sustained nitrogen loading', Oecologia, vol. 149, no. 4, pp. 701-708.
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Classical resource- and the less studied ratio-dependent models of predator-prey relationships provide divergent predictions as to the sustained ecological effects of bottom-up forcing. While resource-dependent models, which consider only instantaneous p
Sanchez-Camara, J., Booth, D.J., Murdoch, J., Watts, D. & Turon, X. 2006, 'Density, habitat use and behaviour of the weedy seadragon Phyllopteryx taeniolatus (Teleostei Syngnathidae) around Sydney, New SouthWales, Australia', Marine And Freshwater Research, vol. 57, no. 7, pp. 737-745.
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The vulnerability of marine fish species, particularly those inhabiting coastal waters, is an increasingly important issue in marine conservation. Although the weedy seadragon Phyllopteryx taeniolatus (Lacepede, 1804), a syngnathid fish endemic to southe
Alquezar, R., Markich, S.J. & Booth, D.J. 2006, 'Metal accumulation in the smooth toadfish, Tetractenos glaber, in estuaries around Sydney, Australia', Environmental Pollution, vol. 142, no. 1, pp. 123-131.
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This study determined the metal levels in sediments and tissues of a common estuarine fish, Tetractenos glaber (smooth toadfish), from two metal contaminated and two reference estuaries near Sydney, Australia. Metal levels were highest in sediments and f
Booth, D.J. & Skene, C. 2006, 'Rapid assessment of endocrine disruption: vitellogenin (Vtg) expression in male estuarine toadfish (Tetratenos glaber Tetraodontiformes)', Australasian Journal of Ecotoxicology, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 3-8.
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Increased contamination of waterways has lead to many impacts on organisms, including effects on reproduction. A suite of endocrine-disruptive chemicals (DECs) has been shown to mimic sex hormones in vertebrates and their presence is an important bioindicator of environmental degradation. We examined expression of vitellogenin (Vtg, a female yolk protein) in male toadfish (Tetratenos glaber), as an indicator of EDC presence in estuaries around Sydney, Australia. First we demonstrated induction of Vtg in males from unpolluted estuarine sites through injection of 17beta-oestradiol. Second, serum of fish from polluted and unpolluted estuaries was collected and examined by reducing-polyacryamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). While females from polluted (downstream from sewage treatment plants, and subject to urban runoff) and less polluted sites all expressed Vtg in blood serum, males from less polluted sites showed little or no evidence of Vtg expression. however, most males from heavilty polluted sites showed moderate to high levels of vtg expression indicating that EDCs were present and affecting normal endocrine function in males. We suggest that simple biochemical examinations of EDS effects, such as vtg induction in males, are useful rapid assessment methods wich can provide evidence upon which further, more detailed studies may be undertaken.
Walsh, C.T., Pease, B.C., Hoyle, S. & Booth, D.J. 2006, 'Variability in growth of longfinned eels among coastal catchments of south-eastern Australia', Journal Of Fish Biology, vol. 68, no. 6, pp. 1693-1706.
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Longfinned eels Anguilla reinhardtii were captured by both fishery-dependent and independent sampling methods from three rivers in New South Wales. south-eastern Australia. Growth rates were examined in two zones (fresh water and tidal) in the Hacking. H
Sanchez-Camara, J., Booth, D.J. & Turon, X. 2005, 'Reproductive cycle and growth of Phyllopteryx taeniolatus', Journal Of Fish Biology, vol. 67, no. 1, pp. 133-148.
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In this study, 36 males, 33 females and 15 juveniles of the common or weedy seadragon Phyllopteryx taeniolatus, a syngnathid fish endemic to the waters of southern Australia, were identified using visual implant fluorescent elastomer tags and pattern of
Gregson, M.A. & Booth, D.J. 2005, 'Zooplankton patchiness and the associated shoaling response of the temperate reef fish Trachinops taeniatus', Marine Ecology-Progress Series, vol. 299, pp. 269-275.
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The grouping behaviour of fishes plays an important role in the success of the group and individual in terms of foraging, reproduction and predator avoidance. The temperate Sydney (Australia) reef fish species Trachinops taeniatus was investigated betwee
Sanchez-Camara, J. & Booth, D.J. 2004, 'Movement, home range and site fidelity of the weedy seadragon Phyllopteryx taeniolatus (Teleostei : Syngnathidae)', Environmental Biology Of Fishes, vol. 70, pp. 31-41.
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Booth, D.J. 2004, 'Synergistic effects of conspecifics and food on growth and energy allocation of a damselfish', Ecology, vol. 85, no. 10, pp. 2881-2887.
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Silberschneider, V., Pease, B.C. & Booth, D.J. 2004, 'Estuarine habitat preferences of Anguilla Australis and A. reinhardtii glass eels as inferred from laboratory experiments', Environmental Biology of Fishes, vol. 71, pp. 395-402.
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Booth, D.J. & Beretta, G. 2004, 'Influence of recruit condition on food competition and predation risk in a coral reef fish', Oecologia, vol. 140, no. 2, pp. 289-294.
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Settlement rate is considered to be a major determinant of the population structure of coral reef fishes. In this study, the effects of larval physiological condition on survival, predation risk and competitive ability are assessed for a small damselfish, Pomacentrus moluccensis. New settlers were collected and fed for 5 days to produce high and low condition (measured as lipid) treatment fish. In a field experiment, pairs (one high and one low condition fish) were transplanted to corals. Persistence over 2 weeks was much higher (100% vs. 25%) in high condition fish. In mixed groups in the laboratory, high condition fish were both aggressively dominant and consumed more of a limiting prey source than low condition fish. In addition, low condition fish were shown to be at much higher risk of predation. All of the low condition fish but only 33% of high condition fish in mixed groups were consumed by fish predators, and in a separate experiment, 73% of feeding strikes by predators were directed at low condition fish. Quality of new settlers can have an important influence on subsequent juvenile survival. The mechanisms for this effect are likely to include a combination of effects of condition on food competition and predation risk.
Walsh, C.T., Pease, B.C. & Booth, D.J. 2004, 'Variation in the sex ratio, size and age of longfinned eels within and among coastal catchments of southeastern Australia', Journal Of Fish Biology, vol. 64, pp. 1297-1312.
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Longfinned eels Anguilla reinhardtii were captured by both fishery-dependent and independent sampling methods from three rivers in New South Wales, south-eastern Australia. Sex ratios, catch per unit effort and population age and total length structure were examined in three zones (fresh water and upper and lower tidal) in the Hacking, Hawkesbury and Clarence Rivers. Females were found in relatively high proportions in all zones, ranging from 97% in a freshwater (non-tidal) site down to 59% in a tidal site. Males were found primarily in tidal zones (only two of the 677 longfinned eels caught in non-tidal fresh water were males), with the greatest proportions being found in the brackish upper tidal areas. The mean number of fish captured per trap was higher in the fresh water and upper tidal zones than in the lower tidal zones. The mean &plusmn; s.e. age, 179 &plusmn; 03 years, and age range, 552 years for females were significantly higher than those of males 122 &plusmn; 04 years; range 522 years, which is typical of other anguillid species. Longfinned eels captured in fresh water were found be significantly larger and older than those in tidal zones due to the almost exclusive predominance of females
Brunton, B.J. & Booth, D.J. 2003, 'Density- and size-dependent mortality of a settling coral-reef damselfish (Pomacentrus moluccensis Bleeker)', Oecologia, vol. 137, no. 3, pp. 377-384.
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Walsh, C.T., Pease, B.C. & Booth, D.J. 2003, 'Sexual dimorphism and gonadal development of the Australian longfinned river eel', Journal Of Fish Biology, vol. 63, no. 1, pp. 137-152.
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Upston, J.M. & Booth, D.J. 2003, 'Settlement and density of juvenile fish assemblages in natural, Zostera capricorni (Zosteraceae) and artificial seagrass beds', Environmental Biology Of Fishes, vol. 66, no. 1, pp. 91-97.
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Stauber, A. & Booth, D.J. 2003, 'Allometry in the Bearded Dragon Pogona barbata (Sauria:Agamidae) : Sex and Geographic differences', Australian Zoologist, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 238-245.
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Booth, D.J. & Alquezar, R. 2002, 'Food supplemantation increases larval growth, condition and survival of Acanthochromis polyacanthus', Journal of Fish Biology, vol. 60, no. N/A, pp. 1126-1133.
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Booth, D.J. & Beretta, G. 2002, 'Changes in a fish assemblage after a coral bleaching event', Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 245, no. N/A, pp. 205-212.
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Booth, D.J. & Alquezar, R. 2002, 'Distribution changes after settlement in six species of damselfish (Pomacentridae) in One Tree Island lagoon, Great Barrier Reef', Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 226, no. N/A, pp. 157-164.
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Booth, D. & Alquezar, R. 2002, 'Food supplementation increases larval growth, condition and survival of Acanthochromis polyacanthus', Journal of Fish Biology, vol. 60, no. 5, pp. 1126-1133.
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Silberschneider, V., Pease, B.C. & Booth, D.J. 2001, 'A Novel Artificial Habitat Collection Device for Studying Resettlement Patterns in Anguillid Glass Eels', Journal of Fish Biology, vol. 58, no. 5, pp. 1359-1370.
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Macfarlane, G.R. & Booth, D.J. 2001, 'Estuarine Macrobenthic Community Structure in the Hawkesbury River, Australia, Reltionships with Physicochemical and Anthropogenic Parameters', Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, vol. 72, pp. 51-78.
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Silberschneider, V. & Booth, D.J. 2001, 'Resource Use by Enneapterygius rufopileus and other Rockpool Fishes', Environmental Biology of Fishes, vol. 61, pp. 195-204.
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Koop, K., Booth, D.J., Broadbent, A., Brodie, J., Bucher, D., Capone, D., Coll, J., Dennison, W.C., Erdmann, M.V., Harrison, P., Hoegh-Guldberg, O., Hutchings, P., Jones, G., Larkum, A., O'Neill, J., Steven, A., Tentori, E., Ward, S., Williamson, J. & Yellowlees, D. 2001, 'Encore: The Effect of Nutrient Enrichment on Coral Reefs. Synthesis of Results and conclusions', Marine Pollution Bulletin, vol. 42, pp. 91-120.
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Silberschneider, V., Pease, B.C. & Booth, D.J. 2001, 'A novel artificial habitat collection device for studying resettlement patterns in anguillid glass eels', Journal of Fish Biology, vol. 58, no. 5, pp. 1359-1370.
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Booth, D.J., Kingsford, M.J., Doherty, P.J. & Beretta, G. 2000, 'Recruitment of Damselfishes in One Tree Island Lagoon: Persistent Interannual Spatial Patterns', Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 202, no. 0, pp. 219-230.
The spatial and temporal patterns of distribution of new settlers of 23 species of damselfish (Pomacentridae) within One Tree Island lagoon, southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) were measured for 3 summers to assess the persistence of spatial patterns of recruitment. Overall recruitment was 3 times higher in 1993/1994 than 1994/1995, and 1.5 times higher than 1999. In general, recruitment decreased towards the lagoon centre, even though habitat availability was not lower there on average, suggesting that most fish settled at outer sites as they were advected from adjacent waters. There was also great variation in numbers of recruits among outer sites. Patterns of recruitment to continuous reef and patch reef habitats also differed among species, suggesting habitat selection at this broad level. For example, Pomacentrus nagasakiensis was primarily found on patch reefs, while P. moluccensis was largely found on continuous reef. One site (Shark Alley) received the highest number of recruits of most species during the study, and this pattern has been observed in studies since 1975. Despite interannual variability in abundance of potential settlers and differences in the habitat preferences of some species, therefore, some sites on the reef can receive relatively high numbers of settlers over decadal time scales. This consistency of spatial pattern may be due to local topography and oceanography at Shark Alley, which appear to favour the input of potential settlers. The availability of live coral may also be important, but species which showed no preferences for live cover also recruited at high levels at this site. The attributes of Shark Alley were compared with those at other sites. Overall, sites that clustered on the basis of oceanographic and habitat features also had similar recruitment, suggesting that these features may be useful in predicting recruitment hotspots on reefs elsewhere.
Macfarlane, G.R., Booth, D.J. & Brown, K.R. 2000, 'The Semaphore Crab, Heloecius Cordiformis: Bio-Indication Potential for Heavy Metals in Estuarine Systems', Aquatic Toxicology, vol. 50, no. 0, pp. 1530166-0.
MacFarlane, G.R., Booth, D.J. & Brown, K.R. 2000, 'The Semaphore crab, Heloecius cordiformis: Bio-indication potential for heavy metals in estuarine systems', Aquatic Toxicology, vol. 50, no. 3, pp. 153-166.
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Booth, D.J. & Hixon, M.A. 1999, 'Food ration and condition affect early survival of the coral reef damselfish, Stegastes partitus', Oecologia, vol. 121, no. 3, pp. 364-368.
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The supply of larvae is a major determinant of population and community structure in coral reef fishes. However, spatial and temporal variation in condition (i.e. quality) of potential recruits, as well as their density (i.e. quantity), may influence sur
Booth, D.J. & Schultz, D.L. 1999, 'Seasonal Ecology, Condition and Reproductive Patterns of the Smooth Toadfish Tetractenos glaber (Freminville) in the Hawkesbury Estuarine System, Australia', Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, vol. 1999, no. 121, pp. 71-84.
Booth, D.J. & Wellington, G. 1998, 'Settlement preferences in coral-reef fishes: Effects on patterns of adult and juvenile distributions, individual fitness and population structure', Australian Journal Of Ecology, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 274-279.
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Coral-reef fishes exhibit a wide range of habitat preferences at settlement. However, the consequences of these preferences to fitness and population dynamics are poorly known. We critically evaluate evidence for these consequences from recent studies of
Booth, D. 1998, 'Teaching evolution are we getting through ?', Australasian Science, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 40-41.
Booth, D.J. 1995, 'Juvenile Groups In A Coral-Reef Damselfish - Density-Dependent Effects On Individual Fitness And Population Demography', Ecology, vol. 76, no. 1, pp. 91-106.
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Costs and benefits to group living in animals may affect the fitness of individual group members and also demography of the population. The effects of grouping on the growth, survival, and attainment of maturity of juveniles of an Hawaiian coral-reef dam
Booth, D.J. & Brosnan, D.M. 1995, 'The role of recruitment dynamics in rocky shore and coral reef fish communities', Advances in Ecological Research, vol. 26, pp. 309-385.
Booth, D.J. & Beretta, G. 1994, 'Seasonal Recruitment, Habitat Associations And Survival Of Pomacentrid Reef Fish In The United-States-Virgin-Islands', Coral Reefs, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 81-89.
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Patterns of distribution and abundance of coral reef fish depend in part on recruitment of a pelagic larval stage, on subsequent dispersal among habitats, and survival of new recruits. We studied recruitment of five species of Stegastes and two species o
Booth, D.J. 1992, 'Larval Settlement-Patterns And Preferences By Domino Damselfish Dascyllus-Albisella Gill', Journal Of Experimental Marine Biology And Ecology, vol. 155, no. 1, pp. 85-104.
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In open populations, larval settlement dynamics may be an important determinant of subsequent distribution and abundance of juveniles and adults. A correlative and experimental study of larval settlement in the domino damselfish Dascyllus albisella Gill
Booth, D.J. 1991, 'The Effects Of Sampling Frequency On Estimates Of Recruitment Of The Domino Damselfish Dascyllus-Albisella Gill', Journal Of Experimental Marine Biology And Ecology, vol. 145, no. 2, pp. 149-159.
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Sampling frequency and methods can potentially affect estimates of demographic rates in population studies. To determine the effects of various sampling protocols on estimating recruitment rate, the rate of larval settlement by the coral reef damselfish
Booth, D.J. 1990, 'Effect Of Water Temperature On Stomach Evacuation Rates, And Estimation Of Daily Food-Intake Of Bluegill Sunfish (Lepomis-Macrochirus Rafinesque)', Canadian Journal Of Zoology-Revue Canadienne De Zoologie, vol. 68, no. 3, pp. 591-595.
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Booth, D.J. 1987, 'Effect Of Group-Size On Population-Dynamics Of Juvenile Domino Damselfish (Dascyllus-Albisella)', American Zoologist, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 122-122.
Booth, D.J. & Keast, J.A. 1986, 'Growth energy partitioning by juvenile bluegill sunfish, Lepomis macrochirus Rafinesque', Journal of Fish Biology, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 37-45.
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Growth energy buildup and partitioning by immature bluegill sunfish were studied over the summer months from May to September 1984. Fish sampled in May showed low condition and low lipid reserves. Condition was restored to summer levels within the following month. Fat reserves were built up from 7% to 14% of body weight over the entire summer. Most (80%) of the annual length increase occurred from 1 June to 15 August. Over the winter period (OctoberApril) condition dropped and lipids were depleted. Calculations showed that energy liberated through lipid depletion over this period could supply the energy requirements of inactive wintering fish. It is concluded that the sequencing of growth energy diversion into changes in body length, condition, and lipid buildup enhances midsummer growth and overwinter survival. Copyright &copy; 1986, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved
Booth, D.J., Pyke, G.H. & Lanzing, W. 1985, 'Prey Detection By The Blue-Eye, Pseudomugil-Signifer Kner (Atherinidae) - Analysis Of Field Behavior By Controlled Laboratory Experiments', Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, vol. 36, no. 5, pp. 691-699.
Observations in a brackish creek in E Australia indicate that blue-eye includes various kinds of insects in its diet in the proportions encountered, provided that they are below a maximum size dictated by the mouth-gape of the fish. Encounter rates are affected by prey body size and water turbidity, but not by hunger level of the fish. Fish fed on insects at 0.04-0.08 mg s-1
Booth, D.J., Pyke, G.H. & Lanzing, W.J.R. 1985, 'Prey detection by the blue-eye, pseudomugil signifer kner (Atherinidae):Analysis of field behaviour by controlled laboratory experiments', Marine and Freshwater Research, vol. 36, no. 5, pp. 669-691.
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Salas, M., Cheal, A., Lough, J., McKinnon, D., Meekan, M., Sweatman, H., Coleman, M., Chambers, L., Dunlop, N., Church, J., Dowdney, J., Feng, M., Griffiths, S., Hobday, A., Matear, R., Poloczanska, E., Richardson, A., Ridgway, K., Risbey, J., Thompson, P., Thresher, R., Weller, E., Saintilan, N., Wilson, S., Lenanton, R., Hosja, W., Moore, P., Wernberg, T., Marshall, D., Connolly, R., Hill, K., Congdon, B., Devney, C., Fuentes, M., Graham, N., Hamann, M., Kingsford, M., Munday, P., Pratchett, M., Sheaves, M., Beardall, J., Brett, S., Waschka, M., Dann, P., Edgar, G., Swadling, K., Connell, S., Russell, B., Ward, T., Lukoschek, V., McGregor, S., Jenkins, G., Campbell, A., Steinberg, P., Anthony, K., Lovelock, C., Skilleter, G., Figueira, W.F., Booth, D.J., Doblin, M.A., Davidson, J., Holbrook, N., Howard, W., Kendrick, G. & Smale, D. NCCARF Publication 2009, Report Card of Marine Climate Change for Australia, pp. 1-2, Australia.